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Probably the best World War 2 movies ever made (in no particular order)

list of best world war 2 movies

Here follow a list of some of the greatest second world war movies. Each movie on this list have made some impact on the war film genre in some way regardless the era when it was released. 

This best war movies list is based on movies that have good critic reviews, the respect of the fans of the war movies genre, good storyline, great action scenes, great acting and a director that knows his trade. The movies that follow have that in common, are often found on plenty of best war movies lists and have made strong impression on me as well as on millions of people that have watched them.

The second thing about this war movies list is that there aren't any prison camp movies. So I don’t want to hear anything why Empire of the sun, Schindler’s list, The great escape or life is Beautiful are not on this list. There are no wartime love stories as well, so don’t even think about commenting why Casablanca is not there even that many claim it’s a war movie. If you ask me it’s more of a wartime love story and will find its place on another list. Also, don’t complain why Band of brothers and The Pacific are not on this list, they are TV series and they will find their place on a best war TV series list. This list is about the best World War 2 movies and every story in this list is about some military mission or battle during that period. If you are a fan of the period you have probably watched some and if not every movie on the list. Nevertheless, check it out maybe you will come across a surprise or two.

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

These are the true inglorious bastards. Lee Marvin leads a gang of convicts in a one way mission in this Robert Aldrich classic movie. It's almost impossible not to like this gang of misfits. 

The Desert Fox (1951)

Erwin Rommel was one of the greatest German generals, a brilliant officer and strategist highly respected both by his soldiers as well as by his enemies. James Mason did an incredible job portraying Rommel who was also known as the desert fox. 

 











Where Eagles Dare (1968)

One of the best world war two thrillers with the legendary Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in the main roles. Non stop high quality action. 

When Trumpets Fade (1998)

This is by far the most underrated war movies of all time. Yet, it deserves to be on everyone's second world war best movies list. All in all an incredible movie, great plot, great acting. This movie is a living proof that you don't need Hollywood movie star to make a great film and by any standards this is one hell of a war movie. 

The Thin Red Line (1998)

An epic movie with an all star crew. Many considered it as one of the greatest word war 2 movies ever made. The focus on the movie is the battle at the Guadalcanal during the world war two. 











Too Late The Hero (1970)

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Often forgotten and pretty underrated this is a great war movie with Cliff Robertson and Michael Caine in the main roles. Robert Aldrich (the dirty dozen) is signed as the director of this war adventure movie. 

Battle Of The Bulge (1965)

watch battle of the bulge
This is one of the precises story of one of the biggest WWII battles - the battle of the bulge. One of the "must watch" classic world war 2 movies for every fan of the genre.

Kelly's Heroes (1970)


The is story of a group of soldiers that go behind enemy lines to rob a Nazi Bank. Plenty of action and interesting characters. Sgt Oddball (Donald Sutherland) is one of those characters that stick with you for a long time. 

Battle of Britain (1969)


There is no better movie on the Battle of Britain, how it was fought and how it was won. One of the best war movies made in the United Kingdom.



Patton (1970)


George S. Patton is one of the greatest generals that fought in the second world war. He is also known as the General that defeated the desert fox. A lifetime performance by George S. Scott.


watch cross of iron online free
This is a Sam Peckinpah masterpiece with James Coburn in the main role. There isn't a best world war 2 movies list without this one. The critics loved it and the audience was blown away from the authenticity of war portrayed in this classic world war 2 movie. 













The Longest Day (1962)

One of the first movies about the D-Day told on a grand scale with an all-star acting crew lead by Richard Burton and John Wayne.















 Army Of Shadows (1969)

One of the movies in which every element is perfect, from the writing through the editing, perfection all the way. A true masterpiece very often unfairly forgotten by the fans! Wanna know the true value of this movie, just read some critics review or simply watch it.













 Catch 22 (1970)

Captain John Yossarian is a cult character and one of the most memorable ones in the genre. His monologues and discussion are unforgettable. The movie didn't had commercial success only because most of the people can comprehend the black humor in this movie. 














 A Bridge Too Far (1977)

watch a bridge too far online

An epic movie with some of the best actors of those years. Operation Market Garden was the battle that should of ended the world war 2 by Christmas that year. The movie tells the story why that didn't happened.












The Big Red One (1980)

One of the best world wart 2 movies ever made without any doubt. Nothing more to be said, if you haven't seen it just sit back and enjoy. 














Hell Is For Heroes (1962)

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This very tense world war II drama is directed by Don Siegel (his only war movie) with Steve McQueen in the main role. Great director, great script, great actors equals great film.





Das Boot (1981)

Brilliant, masterpiece, excellent are common terms used to describe Das Boot. This is one of the most realistic war movies ever made. The movie follows the lives of a U-boat crew and their missions in the Atlantic ocean in the mist of the second world war. 













watch letters from iwo jima online
Powerful war movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie tells the story about the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. The movie has all that a great war movies needs; great director, great actors, great story, great battle scenes. 












watch stalingrad 1993
If you haven't seen this movie you better prepare yourself. This is not an easy movie to watch as same as war is not a pleasant experience. This battlefield drama tells a powerful story of the German soldiers that fought in Stalingrad.   















The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

watch the bridge on the river kwai
No world war II movie list can be made without this classic. An epic movie that tells a powerful story about a working camp of POW. A complex movie that delivers a strong message.














Come And See (Idi i Smotri) (1985)

A rare look of the second world war from the Soviet side. Just because the actors don't speak English the movie didn't made an impact on the Western audience. Otherwise one of the best and if not the best world war 2 movie ever made. 













Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The movie that changed the genre and set new standards. Spielberg's masterpiece is one of the best films in the genre. Probably the best war movie in the last two decades. 















 Honorable mention:
The Attack (1956),
Flags of our fathers (2006),
The Desert Rats (1953),
Midway (1976),
Hell in the Pacific (1968)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)

If you feel some great movie is left out of this list be free to write us about it in the comment box!

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+ comments + 8 comments

June 23, 2013 at 7:14 AM

Excellent list, only a few I would disagree with and no glaring exceptions. Here is my Top Ten:

1. Longest Day
2. Saving Private Ryan
3. Das Boot
4. When Trumpets Fade
5. Where Eagles Dare
6. A Bridge Too Far
7. Bridge on the River Kwai
8. Cross of Iron
9. Patton
10. Battle of Britain

Not a big fan of:
The Thin Red Line
Army of Shadows

You are not a big fan of black and white movies, are you?

June 23, 2013 at 7:37 AM

I understand why you might dislike the thin red line, i truly do, but not why you dislike army of shadows, it is an excellent movie. As far as the black and white movies, it makes no difference to me.
...Hell is for heroes, the desert fox and the longest day are B & W movies. I think they are excellent movies and deserve their place on everyone's greatest world war 2 movie list

June 23, 2013 at 10:13 AM

I was kidding about the black and whites, I prefer more modern movies myself.

I am a bigger fan of "Army of Crime". "Army of Shadows" perplexes me as to why it is considered a masterpiece. It has long stretches of boring and several ridiculous scenes, especially when the main character escapes.

Thanks for the list! As for great WW2 movies, my father served for the entire WW2, and most of it with Patten's 3rd. He loved the movie by the same name, Patton. We saw it together many times. The other movie we saw several times in the movies was Battle of The Bulge.

I always knew he was proud that he served and helped save the world. My Dad never talked much about WW2, I am sure now it's because, while he was proud of his contribution, it was a hard and sad time for him too. But he really loved these movies. Being there with him, I could tell by observing through him what was right, accurate, and what was bunk.

Movies should make you feel something. Those two movies I mentioned did that for my Dad, and me. So to me, they are great movies.

June 29, 2013 at 7:20 AM

I am glad you liked the list. I am sure that your dad would like some of the other movies on this list as well.If your dad liked Patton and Battle of Bulge he should watch the big red one and when trumpets fade. I am certain that he will enjoy them very much as well!

July 19, 2013 at 7:17 AM

You forgot to mention Band Of Brothers and or The Pacific. they're TV series, but there stories couldn't have been told and other way and are definitely worth a mention.

July 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Actually I didn't mention BOB and the Pacific because they are made for TV, both are TV series.That's the only reason why they are not mentioned on this list.

February 12, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Battle of the Bulge? That ranks as one of the greatest examples of poor acting in film history. In my view, it stank and stunk simultaneously. Where is Tora Tora Tora? You put that other fartfest movie "Midway" on the honorable mention list, but not "Tora"?
Well, on a positive you included "Hell is for Heroes." Regardless if it was black and white, low-budget, it was excellent. Oh, and what added to its excellence was the addition of Bob Newhart as Pvt. Driscoll.

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